Tuesday, March 16, 2021


Now that Rush Limbaugh is dead, who might replace him as the popular leader of the conservative movement? I’m not sure anyone could, given Limbaugh’s unique blend of high intelligence, prodigious memory, and analytical skills. It might have been Andrew Breitbart if he hadn’t died of a heart attack nine years ago last week when he was only 42. In his largely autobiographical 2011 book “Righteous Indignation,” Breitbart said Limbaugh shaped his world view.

Raised in Brentwood, California by upper-middle-class Jewish parents who adopted him as an infant, Breitbart had been quite liberal. After he married stage/screen/TV actor Orson Bean’s daughter, he was surprised when seeing a Limbaugh book on Bean’s shelf. He declared that Limbaugh was a fascist and a racist so why the book? Bean asked if Andrew had ever read or listened to Rush and Breitbart admitted he had not, but everyone said so. Bean suggested he give Limbaugh a try. After listening to Rush’s show while driving around LA for a week, Breitbart realized  how wrong he had been. He continued listening and became a conservative for the rest of his life.

Bean and Breitbart

At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), both Breitbart and Limbaugh were presenters. It was the first year I attended with a press pass that gave me much more access. I could kneel down onstage alongside the main podium and take photos of big-name speakers. I could set up on Bloggers Row with my laptop. Breitbart and others dropped in there several times but we were not introduced at that point.

I had listened to Limbaugh for more than a decade by then. During his, 90-minute talk he said nothing I hadn’t heard before so I wandered through the lobby into other function rooms where other presentations were going on. It was there that I bumped into Breitbart and we chatted a bit. The previous two days I had become intrigued watching his facial expressions while he was seated alongside the main podium listening to Ann Coulter and other big-name speakers. Because whatever he was thinking or feeling was displayed on his face, it was very interesting to watch him through my telephoto lens.

His presentation at the big podium was unpretentious. He spoke extemporaneously as though everyone in the audience were his friend and they seemed to reciprocate. CPAC’s dress code was “business casual,” so I and everyone else wore a jacket and tie throughout the three-day conference but Breitbart would discard his tie and open his shirt collar whenever he could. Like his many friends growing up in the Hollywood entertainment industry growing up, he had been very liberal by default. After becoming a conservative, however, he developed his mantra: “Politics is downstream from culture.”

Breitbart became convinced that conservatism will continue losing ground so long as the left controls Hollywood, academia, and media — especially mainstream media. Three years in a row at CPAC I heard him declare war on mainstream media. I’ve since come to believe firmly that he was right. The left controls what people perceive and Breitbart understood better than most the aphorism, “In Politics, perception is reality.”

Rush Limbaugh became influential because he was on the radio three hours a day for over thirty years. Fifteen million people listened to his analysis whenever anything big happened, cultural or political. Limbaugh had a profound influence on American perception and that’s why the left hated him so much. He peeled off a chunk of their territory and they attacked him desperately trying to retrieve it from him.

Andrew Breitbart’s skill lay in shrewdly forcing mainstream media to cover stories they were studiously ignoring, like the ACORN (Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now) scandal in the fall of 2009. Posing as a pimp, undercover journalist James O’Keefe had collected video from publicly funded ACORN offices in various cities across the country agreeing to help him open whorehouses in which underaged, illegal alien hookers would be hired. O’Keefe offered his videos to mainstream networks but they turned him down. They knew ACORN was a Democrat/Obama-affiliated organization.

James O'Keefe

Through a contact, Breitbart got Fox News to run one video from Baltimore and after a huge outcry mainstream networks were forced to pick up the story. When Democrats then declared it an anomaly in Baltimore, Breitbart then played out more videos once city at a time. Democrats called the second video anomalous too, but then Breitbart continued releasing them from other cities one at a time until it became a huge, very embarrassing story for the new community-organizer-President Obama and the Democrat Party.

In 2011, Breitbart used similar tactics with the unfortunately-named Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner after learning that Weiner was sending out obscene photos of himself to young women (and later underage girls). Weiner denied everything until Breitbart’s strategy forced him to admit it. He resigned in disgrace soon after.

Matt Drudge

Among many other things, Breitbart helped both Arianna Huffington and Matt Drudge set up their highly-successful web sites — before each turned liberal.


Peter said...

I think that Rush very much paved the way for Trumpism with his brash talk that catered to an angry base. A base that is not turned off by childish comments, a disregard for reality, and racism. Comments like:

“Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.”

“Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?”

Airing the racist parody song - “Barack, the Magic Negro”

He also said that when it came to rape, "no means yes if you know how to spot it," and called a Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a "slut" for advocating for access to contraception.

Intelligent? He claimed that “The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.”

And he showed he was not a patriot when he rooted against the USA when the Wall Street Journal asked him to join others in writing 400 words on their hopes for Obama’s next four years. Limbaugh said he only needed four: “I hope he fails.”

If that was the leader of a movement it speaks volumes about the movement.

CaptDMO said...

OK, we're just gonnahave to duke it out about the distinction between Podium, and lectern.
And no, I don't CARE that years of ignorant "usage" by our friends in the communications degree consortium have convinced Merriam Websters to fob off as "usage".
*sigh* Why yes, I DID use to make custom lecterns, as well as podii. (and "anchor desks")
You've seen them on tee vee, and "in the world news".

Kafir said...

Rush, Breitbart, O’Keefe and many others were/are much needed champions of exposing the corruption in DC and politics in general. Most mainstream journalists are hacks and lackeys for the Democrat Party who are not worth paying attention to for even a second.

I’m firmly in their camp as well as Trump’s. Players may not have liked Belichick but he produced championships. He also needed quality players much like Trump needed cabinet members and high level officials to achieve success. If they didn’t produce they were gone. He ran the WH like a business. It worked unlike what JoeBama is doing with his Marxist buddies to the country in just two months.

I am an unapologetic fiscal and political conservative with a spine, not a RINO Republican. I’ve had it with the corrupt effete elite and won’t back down. What are the progressives going to do with 75 million like-minded citizens?

CaptDMO said...

For the life o me I can't imagine who could fill Mr. Limbaugh's shoes, I suspect
Dan Bongino will do well enough. Can't wait for Curtis Sliwa to enter the fray.
I just remember that once Glen Beck and co. decided to head down the "yellow journalism controversy equals ad dollars" path, it took FIVE people to replace HIS tee vee "slot".
And the principals in THAT "just another chitty-chat panel show" motif doesn't cut it well enough for me to set aside part of my day for it.

Kafir said...


Many millions of people learned a lot from Rush that they’d never come close to learning from the mainstream media. He was very adept at dissecting a topic and did it in a humorous way. Leftists didn’t like him because he was so good at it for over three decades.

Mark Steyn would be a good replacement but there is no substitute for Rush.